process. It took three years to bring together Chemical Banking Corp. and Manufacturers Hanover, and Chemical's merger with Chase Manhattan Corp. is expected to take nearly as long. (See story on page 14A.) And with the wave of mergers this year, countless decisions remain to be made about promising technologies at banks across the United States. The big choices - Which core processing system will survive? What tasks will be outsourced? - often draw attention. But there are many more smaller decisions to be made that involve technology used in a particular line of business. In April, for example, First Fidelity Bancorp. talked to Management Strategies about new data warehouse technology it had installing to better monitor risk in its portfolio of business loans. The software, which was beta-tested at the bank, is a tool to evaluate risk by drawing and manipulating data from multiple systems. Now that First Union Corp. is acquiring First Fidelity, the future of the New Jersey-based bank's Hogan Systems Inc. risk assessment system is unclear. A First Union spokesman, David Scanzoni, said, "That's under review. It's one of many systems conversion issues that's being examined right now." Norman McClave, executive vice president at First Fidelity, noted, "When you look at whether systems survive, it is not only a question of the individual worth of the system you are looking at." Mr. McClave said that consolidations typically involve a range of issues, including the relative merits of each bank's systems, the cost of rolling it out to the combined bank, and timing. "The systems we're talking about here are all data warehouses of one sort or another," he said. "And so by definition they do have to be connected into the fundamental transaction systems. Obviously there is a cost involved in doing that." Timing is important because, with so many systems conversions, they must be prioritized. "Inevitably, even if costs are manageable and deemed to be appropriate, you have a timing issue of when can you get to a conversion, and how long it will take," said Mr. McClave. The First Union "systems guys have a lot on their plate, and need to put this in the context of a number of systems that they are having to deal with in trying to merge," said Mr. McClave. "That's a big responsibility."
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